Best Practices

Are Your Employees “Coin Operated”?

coin-operated sales people

If I hear “my employees are coin operated” one more time, I might wanna punch someone in the mouth. It’s a  lame excuse! Instead, question your own leadership skills.

Leadership – The action of leading a group of people or an organization. Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which  one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the  accomplishment of a common task.”

We teach our sales staff (or we’re supposed to) to sell on BENEFITS not features. And yet, when we want to change a process or move forward with a new initiative at the dealership, we don’t SELL our staff on the BENEFITS of a new tool. Instead, we complain about current procedures “not working”, find someone or something else to blame for our failure and then say “it won’t work unless we change the pay plan“. #FAIL

Mr. Customer, this vehicle comes equipped with bluetooth hands-free system. You’ll be able to speak on the phone while having the freedom and safety of both hands on the wheel. It could also potentially save you from receiving an expensive fine.

Mr. Sales staff, we need to achieve an 80% email capture rate with all your customers. This will allow you to follow up with your customers in multiple ways. The dealership will even market to your customer on your behalf in order to capture their interest again, increasing your sales opportunities by and additional 20%.

This is a very light example, but you get the idea. Take some of your own training and sell your staff on the benefits of anew service or process.

I truly think people are not as coin operated as we like to believe. It’s a lame excuse we use for our failures at the dealership, our lack of leadership and our own lack of salesmanship.

The next time words “coin operated” are sitting on the tip of your tongue or you’re considering changing the pay plan, spiff or bonus in order to motivate your staff…ask yourself:

Where did I fail in selling the BENEFITS to my team? Where did I fail as a leader in order to get my team on the same page?

Or am I living in a fantasy world?

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
I couldn't have said it better. 

Spiffs are the cocaine of the car business. After a while it takes more and more to get the same effect and then you realize you need leadership re-hab. 
Wow, JK and Mitch are crushing it! 

JK writes:
"...Instead, we complain about current procedures “not working”, find
someone or something else to blame for our failure and then say “it won’t work unless we change the pay plan“. #FAIL"


Jerry T's always preaching that paying for referrals is madness. We have a great dining EXPERIENCE and tell a friend, we never withhold that referral if the restaurant doesn't birddog us?!

If I hear one more time how female reps are impossible to manage... to take the words from Jeff "..I might wanna punch someone in the mouth. It’s a  lame excuse! Instead, question your own leadership skills."

Houston, we have a REAL leadership problem.
Mitch - priceless!

Jeff - "da plane, da plane" you're living on fantasy island; not fantasy world. You're an island that has recognized the root of the problem.  You're an island in a world that has shunned responsibility.  And that's enough of the metaphors for today.

I LOVE the article.  If there is a simple take-away for management it is simply to consider what the feature of this thing you're asking your people to do is, and position the sale so that this feature is now a benefit.  It is sales 101.
  • R
  • May 25, 2011
cocaine is a powerful drug
If only we had Rick James selling cars for us... RIP
Selling the benefits of the initiative to the group instead of bitchin' about what isn't working. Good stuff!

How about one on one coaching to reinforce the message?

Oh yeah, that's right....we're selling cars....we don't have any time for one on ones!

But what if it were possible to find 5-10 minutes per day per salesperson to coach them on the 3 top initiatives you're focusing on?

Maybe you could help them sell themselves on the benefits of the initiative. Maybe try SPIN selling. Using Jeff's scenario....

Situation Questions: Mr/Ms sales staff, how many vehicles did you sell over the last quarter? How many of those sales were made to be-back and previous customers? How did the grosses and effort to make the sale compare between fresh walk ins and your follow up based sales once you got them in?

Problem Questions: Do you think you're getting as many follow up based sales as you'd like? How many more would you like to get? How many contacts do you currently average per day with your previous customers and possible be-backs? How many more contacts do you think you'd have to make to get those additional follow up based sales?

Implication Questions:Since you said sales to previous customers and be-backs are easier to make once you get them in, how would you benefit by making more of them? How much more income could those additional sales generate for you? How would you use the extra money?

Need Payoff Questions:So the challenge is getting more be-backs and repeat customers to buy from you and you're interested in anything that will help you accomplish that? What if you were able to increase your email capture rate to 80%, how would that help you? So the resulting 20% increase in sales opportunities would get you closer to your goal? Do you think the dealership marketing on your behalf might help too?

Okay, I know leadership in your dealership might not have time to do even a shortened version of this. You're too busy selling cars to do one on ones with your staff even twice a week.

But why not try? If it doesn't work you can always complain some more then spiff 'em.